The Lord’s Supper: Lessons from Corinth (Pt 5)

Daily Devotion | Day 334

“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17, NKJV).

Today we will summarize the main points we have discussed so far. In addition, we will look at concrete ways we can apply the Corinthian experience to our present day experience of church and the Lord’s Supper. I initially thought we could finish today, but there is a very important aspect of the Lord’s Supper which needs to be covered. We will take care of that tomorrow, God willing. An essential point which has emerged from our study so far is that discerning the Lord’s body (1 Corinthians 11:29), has a two-fold meaning.

First, those who participate in the Lord’s Supper ought to understand that the assembly (the church) is the Lord’s body, a holy convocation. Offensive behavior toward anyone in that assembly is an offense against the Lord’s body. This is why in Corinth, when people created confusion at the Lord’s Supper and despised the poor, they incurred the Lord’s judgment.

Second, one ought to understand that during the Lord’s Supper, God’s people gather around a meal to remember, to fellowship with and to honor the body and blood of Jesus. As a result, any attitude (including any mindset) which undermines the sacred purpose of this meeting constitutes a grave offense against the body and blood of Jesus. If this happens, judgment is inevitable.

In our opening Scripture (1 Corinthians 10:16-17), we learn that the cup of blessing which we bless at the Lord’s Supper is the fellowship of the blood of Christ. Likewise, the bread which we break is the fellowship of the body of Christ. The believers in attendance, Paul concludes, are one bread and one body. When we eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of the Lord, it results in fellowship with His body and blood. Because we are intimately joined to the Lord as one body (and one spirit), what we do to one another, we do to Jesus personally.

Consequently, an attack against a believer (or the community) is met with a strong response from the Lord. In the New testament, there are instances where the Lord intervened on behalf of His people because the church was under some form of attack. We recall, for example, the story of Ananias and Sapphira who lied to Peter (Acts 5:1-11), Saul who persecuted the Church (Acts 9:1-5); and of course, there is the Lord’s intervention in the seven churches, e.g. the church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-23).

Some practical lessons for us:

While the circumstances in Corinth may differ from ours today, the underlying message is applicable to all Christian churches. Jesus pays attention to our motives and our behavior in the churches. And depending on what we do, He will respond with blessings or judgment. Therefore, we need to attend church meetings with godly motives and maintain a sense of reverence and decorum.

Church time is sacred. It is not the time for comedy, or the time to gossip, create confusion, despise others, bear grudge, show off our latest fashion, or to expose sensitive parts of our body through provocative dressing.

If you feel the church meeting is taking too long and you have somewhere important to be, you are free to leave. You are not the church’s prisoner. It is better for you to leave respectfully than to stay and grumble, constantly looking at your watch. If you have a problem with giving money to support the church, keep your money; but do not complain in your heart or in your words about giving. If you do, you will be offending the Lord.

If you have an issue which you think needs to be addressed, speak with the appropriate elders in your church. But whatever you do, do not engage in irreverent behavior, even if you believe everyone is wrong and you alone are right. Participate in church meetings, especially the Lord’s Supper. But have a single goal: to fellowship with the brethren, to edify and be edified, and to glorify the Lord. Do this and you will be blessed. Amen.

For further study: John 17:1-26

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